Today, Friday, March 15, 2019, the Community Foundation of Dickinson County is doubling all donations made to the First UMC Endowment fund (up to $10,000). You can give online at http://www.donatedickinson.com or take a check down to the Community Foundation Office in the old Astra Bank Building. If you want to give before then, you can bring or mail a check made out to “Community Foundation of Dickinson County” to the church office. Either way putting “First United Methodist Church” in the memo line would not go astray.
To be clear: this money goes into the church’s endowment fund which means that we can only draw on the interest. For this reason we’re looking for donations that go above and beyond your regular giving.
I wrote what follows for the bulletin. I’m reprinting it here for those of you who won’t be able to be in church on Sunday.
In case you didn’t see the ad in the Reflector-Chronicle, a copy appears directly below [here on the blog, it’s two posts down]. What Jenny and I have heard over and over again from the members of this church of all theological stripes and persuasions is that you are a church that welcomes everyone. While the recent 2019 General Conference and the negative (and often misleading) headlines it generated prompted our running the ad, the ad was not just for LGBTQ+ folks. It was for everyone who has ever doubted whether or not they would be welcome at a church. That includes a lot of people. Those of us who have always felt comfortable in church can easily underestimate how intense the fear of rejection can be for someone attending for their first time. You all do your best to welcome everyone. Jenny and I love that about you.
In last Sunday’s sermon, I talked about how fundamentalism/biblical literalism doesn’t actually work—the most revealing tell being that even the staunchest fundamentalist are fundamentalist about everything in the Bible (very few people have given away all but one coat). Everyone interprets the Bible, although not everyone admits it. In my sermon this coming Sunday, I plan to talk about one way of understanding biblical authority, or more accurately—since all authority on heaven and earth belongs to God—how God exercises some of God’s authority through the Bible. I’ve got the first draft down, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.
Share your love for the church with future generations. On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Community Foundation of Dickinson County will double all donations made to the First UMC Endowment fund (up to $10,000). On May 15, you can give online at http://www.donatedickinson.com or take a check down to the Community Foundation Office in the old Astra Bank Building. If you want to give before then, you can bring or mail a check made out to “Community Foundation of Dickinson County” to the church office. Either way putting “First United Methodist Church” in the memo line would not go astray.
Here’s the clarification: this money goes into the church’s endowment fund which means that we can only draw on the interest. For this reason we’re looking for donations that go above and beyond your regular giving.
We’ll have a sample t-shirt and an order form in the narthex (church lobby) this Sunday, but if you want to order online, you can just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use “AFUMC T-Shirt Order” in the subject line.
We’re now taking orders for First United Methodist Church t-shirts. These are of the new design featuring heather gray t-shirts with the Cross and Flame and an open door on the front and a summary of Micah 6:8 on the back. The cost is $11 for adults and $5 for children and youth (the Outreach and Mission Committee is subsidizing the cost for children and youth). We have a wide variety of sizes available: onesie newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months; toddler 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; youth XS, S, M, L, XL; and Adult S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL. We’ll have a sample in the Narthex soon.
In a world that tells me to purchase products to try to avoid the inevitable outcome of death, #AshWednesday is a pause on those voices and gently whispers “You do not need to be afraid of death, dear. We are born of God, we return to God. There is freedom in the dust.” — Rev. Jes Kast 
Our Ash Wednesday Services are today (Wednesday, March 6, 2019) at 12:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. “There is freedom in the dust.”
Tomorrow (March 6, 2019) is Ash Wednesday. There will be two services, one over the lunch hour from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. and one in the evening from 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. There will be communion at the evening service.
Rick Saylor shared some reflections on the 2018 General Conference, titled With his permission, I’m sharing them with you.
I’ve Never Had This Kind of Heartburn Before by Rick Saylor
Yesterday was a historic moment in the United Methodist Church as General Conference reinforced it’s restriction (read discrimination) against LGBTQ persons regarding weddings and clergy status. Not to mention General Conference legislation once again voted to state the practices of our LGBTQ friends is sinful and incompatible with scripture.
Because of the snow, we are cancelling the early service (8:15 a.m.) and Sunday School (9:30 a.m.) today (Sunday, March 3, 2019). At present (4:52 a.m.) we are still planning on the 10:30 worship service. Please reach out and share this information with those without internet access.